Coilhouse: Rewind, Forward

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What a year it’s been! New posts go up on this site, older ones recede into the past. Gone, but not forgotten. This New Year’s Eve, we’re resurrecting the Greatest Hits of 2007 in seven different categories: culture, music, style, art, film, literature and opinion. In selecting which posts to include, we realized that much of a post’s brilliance lies in the responses. From beverage-through-the-nose laughter to stroke-our-imaginary-beard contemplation (or, in Mildred’s case, her actual beard), your responses have informed/inspired/infected us as much as we hope we’ve done the same for you. Thank you for sharing in our obsessions.

What’s ahead for Coilhouse in 2008? More blog posts, of course, but perhaps even more exciting will be the publication of Coilhouse Magazine, Issue 1, which will be available on this site. What’s in the magazine, you ask? It’s a surprise! There will be lots of art and interviews, fun pieces that you can cut out and play with, and original, thought-provoking articles that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

More news on the print magazine soon! And now, without further ado, the Greatest Hits of 2007. Hit “reload” on your browser to see random articles load each time:

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Future-fashion of 2007 – a year in review

Twenty1f takes a look back at some of the future-forward designs of the year. I love the metal leggings from Balenciaga and the body contoured molds of McQueen, though much of the rest of his fall wasn’t to my liking.


Alexander Mcqueen Fall ‘07 collection

It is amusing, however, that this McQueen show, inspired by his bloodline tracing back to a victim of the Salem witch trials, got bad reviews not for the designs, but for use of darque imagery the audience found distracting. From style.com: “there was a pentagram traced in red in a black-sand circle, with an inverted pyramid hanging over it. As the show started, a macabre film—of naked women, swarming locusts, faces decaying to skulls, and blood and fire—started to play above the models’ heads”. Oh Alexander!


Balenciaga Spring ‘07 collection

This line was inspired by designer Nicolas Ghesquière watching Tron and Terminator. See it all here.

I think I might be straight!

This common-sense guide to the heterosexual lifestyle may help you come to grips with the strange, repressed feelings that have been haunting you since puberty. Reading it opened my eyes and made me love myself for who I am. Someone gave me this flyer a few years ago on campus, and, as a public service, I now pass it on to all of you. May it help to guide you in your internal struggle.

What’s Zo Wearing? December 30, 2007

No party dresses today! Time to throw on some battle gear and greet the new year with renewed powers. Welcome it sweetly and wrangle it at an opportune moment. We only get so many of these new years so don’t frown on resolutions, squidlings, especially if you’ve the capacity to stick to them. Find a night just for you this week and set some damn goals. You can doo eeet!

Remembering Bob Carlos Clarke

Bob Carlos Clarke, why did you jump in front of a moving train last year and end your life? You were one of the greatest fetish photographers that ever lived, and it’s not the same without you.

What passes for fetish photography these days is a joke, and you were one of the only people who got it: you understood that it was more about clothes staying on than taking them off, that it was all about contour and personality. The girls in your pictures didn’t make stupid faces while holding their boobs, and you could bring sexuality to any object you photographed, even if it was a stone or a fork.

Wish you were still with us.

Corpses kiss damsels: the curious art of Gustav Mossa


The Cock and the Pearl by Gustav Adolf Mossa

Gustav-Adolf Mossa’s paintings are subversive, playful and unforgettable. There is so much detail in each of these works, and while everything is stylized there is still emotional presence. You might recall one of his pieces from the Pierrot post last week. Intrigued by the concept of the Femme Fatale, much of his work features beautiful and somewhat tragic female heroines, often taken from myth or literature. There is also a certain distaste for Catholicism and fascination with perversion – Mary Magdalene climbs half-nude atop Christ’s crucified body, a noble woman powders her face beside a fetus in a jar, Helen tenderly kisses a corpse. Nudity and fatality aplenty!

Oddly, very little information is available online about this Symbolist painter. What my questionable French has allowed me to decipher from bits and pieces follows. Gustav Mossa, (1883-1971) was inspired by the work of Baudelaire among other authors, and his style takes its influences from Art Nouveau and the Preraphaélites. Marchesa Luisa Casati was one of his patrons, though I’ve yet to find a depiction of her in his work. He worked nonstop for fifteen years, 1903 to 1918, and then stopped suddenly, producing nothing but gaining popularity.

Thirty-eight of his major works are on display in The Fine Art museum of Nice. I did manage to find an online gallery of Mossa art here, a few more here, and there are more not entirely safe for work images beyond the jump – enjoy!

All Over Me

In 1997, director Alex Sichel was given a grant to make a film about the riot grrrl music scene. She created the film All Over Me, an intense coming-of-age film with a unique cast. The film is about many things: sexual orientation, trying to start a band, drug use, losing your best friend and being just on the verge of discovering all that makes you who you are.

The film’s greatest strength is the way it shows how emotional your relationship with music can get, especially as a teen. Almost every scene has something to do with music, right down to the opening, where the main character tries to play a guitar that she finds on the street. There are scenes of singing along to a song while crying, awful but earnest music rehearsals, rooms covered with drawings and posters of musicians, meetings at guitar stores and gigs.

The score is raw and emotional, and the sounds of Babes in Toyland, Sleater-Kinney, Helium, Patti Smith and Tuscadero figure heavily into the film’s soundscape. The cast is full of musicians as well. Pat Briggs from industrial/gothy/glam band Psychotica appears as a charismatic next-door neighbor, and Leisha Hailey from The Murmurs and Uh Huh Her plays one of the lead roles. Mary Timony from Helium also appears in the film, and together with Hailey they appear on stage in the form of a fictional band called Coochie Pop (video after the jump!). Also of note is non-musician actor Wilson Cruz, who many will remember as Ricky from ahead-of-its-time teen drama My So-Called Life.

California Carnival Spirit


$teven Ra$pa at the Spectra Ball © Neil Girling

Once in a while some old friend on the east coast rings me up: “hey, where the hell are ya? You just up and vanished!”

I always get this big, stupid grin on my face. “Yeah, sorry, ran away with the circus.”

It’s true. This golden state has become an epicenter for fringe carnival/vaudeville/cabaret activity in recent years and thanks to a strange series of coincidences and acquaintanceships, I’ve found myself in the thick of it: surrounded nightly by aerialists and clowns, can can girls and contortionists, feral marching bands, burlesque beauties, belly dancers, magicians, inspired costumiers, sword-swallowers, snake veggie oil salesmen, gonzo musicians, stilt-walkers, fire-breathers, and well, the list goes on about as far as the Pacific ocean.


Aaron at Lucid Dream Lounge © Neil Girling

With Crash Worship warehouse roots in San Diego, an enclave of trendsetting troupes in LA, and benefiting from its colorful Bay Area yippie heritage, just about anything goes in this subterranean Cali carny set. Constantly touring, seat-of-the-pants caravans push themselves to the limits of physical and financial endurance, venturing into the fiery realms of SRL, the Crucible, Black Rock City and beyond. War wounds abound. This ain’t no Circe du Soleil. There is no safety net.


Tiffany of Vau de Vire Society at Download Festival © Neil Girling

Face camouflage: fashion vs. anxiety

Increasingly popular mask sweatshirts were recently banned by the administrators of Orange County’s Capistrano Unified School District. The concerned officials sent out mass emails warning parents to remember, while doing their holiday shopping, that kids won’t be able to wear such sweatshirts on campus. Tom Ressler, the principal of Capistrano Valley High said “There is no way to identify who kids are. Generally, we don’t think that is a good thing. It gives kids the opportunity to do something bad”.

The goggle jacket is causing a commotion in England – it isn’t illegal, but apparently the look is perturbing anyhow. According to AFP “models with dark colors convey the image of commandos or criminals, while ones with light colors give the impression of a nuclear or biological catastrophe”.


Ernst Fuchs: Liebe, Tod und Teufel

“I don’t think that art, if it’s isolated and specialized, can really create culture. It needs a cult.” – Ernst Fuchs

Ernst Fuchs is a man of many talents; he’s taken turns as a painter, draftsman, printmaker, sculptor, architect, stage designer, composer, poet and singer. Born in 1930 and still working today in Vienna, Fuchs is a strong proponent of fantastic and often disturbing art that’s all over the map, thematically and stylistically.


Left: David and Bathshebah. Right: Ernst Fuchs.

Some of Fuchs’ paintings make him look like a deeply religious man, others make it seem like he’s a total heathen. There are the hyper-detailed, religious-themed, Durer-inspired etchings and brush drawings: my favorite of these is Satan’s Heaven, created in 1954, along with Christ Before Pilate and Ahasverus Repudiates Vasthi. Not since Bosch has religion looked so satisfyingly demonic! Parallel to the his tormenting depictions of the Bible, there are many mythological themes: his Procreation of the Unicorn/Temptation of the Unicorn/Triumph of the Unicorn series is not to be missed; unicorn chaser it’s not!